Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen by David Sax, [pdf, top books]

Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen

David Sax’s delightful travelogue is a journey across the United States and around the world that investigates the history, the diaspora, and the next generation of delicatessen.


David Sax was alarmed by the state of Jewish delicatessen. As a journalist and lifelong deli lover, he watched in dismay as one beloved deli after another closed its doors, only to be reopened as some bland chain restaurant laying claim to the cuisine it just paved over. Was it still possible to save the deli? He writes about the food itself?how it?s made, who makes it best, and where to go for particular dishes?and, ultimately, what he finds is hope: deli newly and lovingly made in places like Boulder, Colorado, longstanding deli traditions thriving in Montreal, and the resurrection of iconic institutions like New York’s 2nd Avenue Deli. No cultural history of food has ever tasted so good. 

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I wrote my original review in haste and sold this terrific book rather short (though not the 5-star rating). So I’m amending below the original, short one. Thankfully, I live in one of those cities that still has a handful of good, and a couple of great, delis left. Because it only took me about 20 pages to be overcome by the physical need (NEED, I say) for pastrami. Real pastrami. This book will do it to you. Goodness, how I love it. NEW: All of that still stands, but this is really a lot more than just an ode to delis. It is also a wonderful history of delicatessens and their place in both Jewish and the larger culture. Sax makes some very serious and real connections between the state of the deli and it place in Jewish life and culture. As a goyem, I can only comment from outside, but having cooked at Fox Deli in Indianapolis for several years in the early 1980s, I was privileged to see the place of a great deli )okay, pretty good) deli in a neighborhood and a community. I learned a lot and picked up some great jokes, too. One of the things I learned was an ongoing and continuing love of kosher and kosher-style deli foods. (Here in Chicago, Manny’s is what I imagine heaven is imagined to be for people who believe in heaven.) But I also became aware of how a deli can be a meeting place, unofficial cultural center and melting pot. Sax takes that and turns it into a tribute and elegy here. So while just looking at the cover does make me hungry, there is a lot more here than a travelogue and dining guide. Very much recommended.

  • Title: Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen
  • Autor: David Sax
  • Publisher (Publication Date): Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (October 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • Download File Format: PDF, EPUB, MOBI, AZW3 (Kindle)

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